JobsCentral Survey: 2 in 3 employers surveyed say they will be hiring in Q4 2012

By Juliet Soh

The employment market appears set to continue its strength in the final quarter of 2012, according to a survey conducted by JobsCentral, Singapore’s leading job portal. This is against the backdrop of low unemployment rate of 2% in the country.

67.2% of the respondents, made up of HR professionals and hiring managers from both the private and public sectors, indicated that they will be hiring till the end of the year to fill new positions (excluding replacements from staff turnover). Majority of those who are hiring are from the small-medium enterprises (SME, 62.4%), while the multinational corporations (MNCs) take up 27.4%, and the public sector forms 10.2% of this group.

“In spite of the uncertain and rather slow global economy, Singapore employers are still faced with a very tight local labour market. This means that employers find it hard to even replace staff who resign and even harder to recruit new staff for expansion. This problem is further compounded by our overall shift towards less reliance on foreigners,” commented Mr. Lim Der Shing, CEO of JobsCentral Group.

“The situation is especially bad for SMEs, who may not have the resources and ability to compete with MNCs or the government in terms of compensation, benefits and career development and who have traditionally relied on foreigners. Certain sectors like the retail, hospitality and healthcare section face a tough time getting the people and employment permits they need to run their businesses,” he adds.

Lack of suitable quality candidates is a huge HR challenge
The top 2 challenges faced by employers are related to a lack of supply and quality of applicants for their jobs. 79.5% of them cited shortage of suitable candidates applying for their job openings as the top concern. This is almost on par with the next biggest challenge of being able to attract the best talents (78.5%). Relatively fewer respondents (55.8%) said that high manpower cost was an issue.

“It is telling that manpower cost is less of a challenge than getting good quality candidates and being able to attract suitable talents. Many employers, in a bid to secure the candidates that they want, have been willing to pay more to get them. A side effect of this, besides increasing business cost, is that it results in more market churn and encourages employees to change jobs in order to get a quick pay raise. If many jobseekers do this, it will have an overall inflationary effect on wages.” says Mr. Lim.

Close to 80% gave out pay increments in 2012 with almost 60% giving less than 5%

Four in five of the employers indicated that pay increments have been issued this year. Majority (58.1%) gave out raises of below 5%, 17.2% gave out 6-10% of increment, and 5.8% says they gave increment of more than 10%. Of those that gave higher increment percentages, the greatest proportion comes from the public sector, followed by the SMEs and the MNCs.

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